Archive for April, 2013

Final Weekend Post

Written by Cameron Harnish. Posted in Personal Reflections: Team 3

Hello all, I have just completed my final weekend of the Cosmo Caixa Explainers Program 2013 pilot. This last weekend was one of the toughest explanation-wise, because there were literally three busloads of French visitors and a whole lot of Italians. The language barrier was a bit of a problem; after various failed attempts at giving Spanish explanations to people who I soon found out didn’t speak Spanish, I was extra careful in making sure that the people present spoke Spanish. Sometimes it would take me a good 5 seconds of listening in on a conversation for me to distinguish whether or not the people in question spoke Spanish or not.
As part of the Pilot, I have been asked to answer some final reflection questions. Here they are:

1. Why do people visit Cosmo Caixa? How can an Explainer help the museum communicate its purpose to these visitors?

I have noticed that, like most museums, people mainly visit Cosmo Caixa because a) they have kids who heard from other kids that there is an exhibit about x, y or z, and they are interested b) the weather isn’t great and they are looking for something to do on a cold or rainy day instead of stay on the couch, and c) there is a tourist or school group who come visit the museum. Regarding how Explainers can help communicate Cosmo Caixa’s purpose to visitors, well, it’s quite simple. By explaining. The lack of clear explanations or properly worded/placed signs was quite shocking, and an Explainer can help clarify a lot of things. The purpose of a museum is to share knowledge, Explainers allow for the further communication of such knowledge.

2. Select one exhibit. Why do you think this exhibit was included by the designer? How does it add to the story that CosmoCaixa wishes to present to visitors?

First of all, I think that it should be more clear what the “story that Cosmo Caixa wishes to present” should be. That being said, I pick Evolution. I think this exhibit was included, well, in order to demonstrate the similarities between different animals that are at very different points in evolution. A clear example of evolution can help us respect the rigorous process of natural selection that led to our existence. It adds to the story of our existence.

3. As an Explainer you represent both BFIS and CosmoCaixa to visitors. Why is a learning practice important to a community? How do Explainers contribute to building a learning community in Barcelona?

A learning practice is important when developing curiosity. The more information that is learned, the more you are able to question, and through those questions come discoveries. Simply put, Explainers provide further information regarding the observable phenomena that surround visitors as they walk the floors of the museum. This information can lead to more questions being developed, with the potential of inspiring people to possibly pursue science as a career. It could potentially help young people from Barcelona get interested in Science.

4. Why would you recommend the Explainer program to another student? How has the experience impacted your science learning at school?

To make a long story short, it is a great opportunity to get out of your comfort bubble. Especially for me, being the only non-fluent Spanish speaker in the group; it was a great opportunity to better myself and my Spanish language abilities. This experience has impacted my science learning at school simply by giving me a physical representation of what I have learned in Physics class and allowing me to demonstrate that clearly.

That’s all folks!

Cameron Harnish (11th Grade)

p.s. I would like to especially thank Sofia Scattarreggia for all her help with the various translations that I needed. Thanks again!

Time flies when you’re having fun

Written by Cameron Harnish. Posted in Personal Reflections: Team 3

Hey, it’s been a while since my last entry. Life as an IB student and dedicated athlete has really taken it’s toll. This program seems like it has gone by quite fast. I can not believe that we have put in over a dozen weekends already. It’s truly incredible. About my last weekend, last weekend I covered Physics. I have expanded my arsenal of exhibits beyond simple waves and Newton’s cradle to handle angular momentum, and rotational dynamics. As well as the hot air balloon and the sponge vs. metal ball falling in a vacuum. I specifically remember a girl who was so awe-struck by the gyroscope effect that she wouldn’t stop testing it. She just wanted me to spin the gyroscope again and again and again. I hope that that kind of passion and curiosity will lead that girl to try and discover new things, because at the end of the day, that’s what leads to discoveries–a passion, a hunger to learn more, a deep-seeded curiosity towards something. Don’t stop learning, don’t stop discovering,

Hasta la proxima (until next time),

Cameron Harnish (11th Grade)

Double post — Weeks 13 and 14 on the Museum Floor

Written by gabriela14. Posted in Personal Reflections: Team 1


As the summer and the nice weather comes, visitors at the museum go. This time of the year the museum is completely empty. The only time the museum is full is when a school bus comes in. One weekend (weekend 13) in particular, A french student group came in to take a look at the museum. It was hard to communicate with them until we both figured out that we can understand each other in English. It made me realize how fortunate I am to be able to speak fluently three languages. It made me realize how good of an advantage it can be in these situations, and that it sure will help me in the future.

During weekend 14 I was explaining Evolution with Cameron. That is by far one of the most interesting sites of the museum. As an animal lover myself, I really enjoy working with these extravagant creatures. I will miss them when we leave.

Hope for the best,


Good-bye CosmoCaixa

Written by sofias14. Posted in SW: Investigation Team 3

Hello blog-readers,

So the programme is coming to an end shortly, and we have been asked to write a reflection post based on a guiding question that our over all supervisor, Yvette, has given us. Here is the one that I think I can say the most about:

Why would you recommend the Explainer program to another student?  How has the experience impacted your science learning at school?

I think that the answer is pretty clear for the first question… Of course I would recommend the Explainer programme to another student! The experience has been so enriching to be able to learn about each of the exhibits, interact with other curious people, and provoking more thought with the community through careful speculation. As a Physics, Chemistry and Maths student at school, I think that the experience has been so beneficial to my learning. To be honest, I’d been having problems with a specific unit in Physics and I just simply couldn’t grasp the concept of a standing wave, or how it worked. After having worked the shift in the Wave Phenomena section of the museum, I realised that they had a whole exhibit dedicated to this, and a hands-on model. I read the description, messed around with it a bit, and all of my questions had been answered.

I don’t think that the programme would have as wonderful as it was if it hadn’t been for the people that I met, and the way that I had to collaborate with my fellow Explainers. It was pretty hard keeping the schedule for who was going to be where in the museum and what shifts we would work, but we managed, and I feel really happy to say that I’ve gotten to know some of my fellow classmates a lot better through the programme. Not to mention all of the interesting people that come to visit the museum! Just today, we had a group of deaf people come and visit the museum. I came up to a man, not knowing he was deaf, and started to explain. He told me in sign language that he was deaf, and I signed back that I was sorry (pretty much the extent of my sign language knowledge). I found myself having to come up with innovative methods of explaining the evolution exhibit through hand gestures and pointing, and in the end, since he was not mute, he was able to ask me questions and notice some fascinating details about the animals I hadn’t noticed before! It really felt amazing to be able to share my ideas in that way.

If there’s anything I learned from the CosmoCaixa, it’s this: Science is not static; it’s an ever-changing, dynamic idea that could not have been perceived without the interaction and help of others. This has been a really amazing learning experience. I really hope that reading about these experiences motivates YOU to do something that brings you out of YOUR comfort zone, and helps you learn something about the world that you never knew before.

Thanks for following,

Sofia Scattarreggia

Stickbugs on the Loose!

Written by sofias14. Posted in Personal Reflections: Team 3


Well, okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, and that’s coming from a real drama nerd, but here’s what happened:

Julia and I were keeping together in our section of the CosmoCaixa, when a man comes up to us and tells us that one of our stick bugs are outside of the glass. The first thing I thought was… Wow, that’s impossible. The glass is extremely thick, and it’s not very easy to get out of a glass box. Sure enough, right there on the front of the glass was one of the tiniest little stick bugs I’d ever seen. Julia and I stood there a bit thinking “What are we going to do!”, so we finally decided that she would hold the bug so it wouldn’t be squished by anyone, and that we would go upstairs and tell Información. We started going up the escalators and when we got to the top we looked at each other and both said that maybe it was a bad idea to take the bug all the way up to information, and actually steal the stick bug from the museum momentarily, so Julia went back down and I ran up to the front desk. When I got there, I told one of the men working there what was going on. I said “One of the bugs is loose”, and before I got the chance to tell him more he sprung out of his chair and said “OhmyGODwhichone!?!?” I guess it’s a good thing that only the stick bug got loose. After a few minutes the maintenance guy came down to get the bug back in the glass case, and that’s when we solved our mystery as to how it got out. Apparently, he had been cleaning out the water just earlier that morning, and that’s probably how the little sucker got out.

So what did I learn today?

  1. Stick bugs, in fact, cannot go through glass.
  2. There are some really dangerous bugs at the CosmoCaixa.
  3. Lots of people are scared of stick bugs.
  4. Don’t scare the staff.

Sofia Scattarreggia

UK University Fair – 22nd April

Written by admin. Posted in College Counselor

A week today we’ll be taking a group of grade 11 students to the UK University Fair at the British School of Barcelona.

My top tips for attending university fairs:

1. Look up the universities attending and have your top 5 that you definitely want to speak to. Look up some of their course information so you can ask some informed questions, that way you gain a lot more information than you would by looking on their website. Remember to write down their answers!

2. If certain facilities or clubs are important to you, ask for more information about them. Do they have an elite athletes team you could be eligible for? Or would you like to continue with some community service projects? Keep in mind the important extra curricular activities you would like to continue.

3. Stay open minded! Visiting with an open mind means you might discover courses you’ve not heard of that could be just up your street.

At the fair at the British School of Barcelona on the 22nd April, the following universities will be attending:


Kent University

Queen Mary University

School of Oriental and African Studies, London

Brighton University

East Anglia University

Sheffield Hallam University

Arts University Bournemouth

Surrey University 

Grade 11 students interested in attending must return their permission slips by Wednesday 17th April